Career and Internship Opportunities for Political Science


Political Science Jobs

Recent graduates of Penn State Behrend’s Political Science program are employed at the following: Toyota Motors, Pennsylvania State Police, Pennsylvania General Assembly, Central Intelligence Agency, Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Peace Corps, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Navy JAG Corps, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. State Department, and NASA. Many graduates have obtained positions in private law firms and public high schools.

Graduates have also continued their education at a number of graduate and law schools such as Cornell University, John Hopkins University, University of Michigan, University of Maryland, The George Washington University, The University of Pennsylvania, The Ohio State University and Case Western Reserve University.

Student Internships

Please read Internship Programs and Policies for information on how to find internships and how to obtain academic credit.

Political or government internships are recommended for all political science majors. Penn State Behrend students have a wide variety of internship opportunities due to the large number of political and government offices located in Erie. Internships can be obtained for academic credit or just for the experience - students are responsible for contacting political or government offices to set up the internships.

Recent political science students have interned in the following offices:

  • Erie office of Senator Bob Casey
  • Office of State Representative Flo Fabrizio
  • Governor's Northwest Regional Office
  • State Attorney General's Office Bureau of Consumer Protection in Erie
  • Erie County Department of Health
  • Erie City Police
  • Office of Erie Mayor Joseph Sinnott
  • Erie County District Attorney's Office


  • Your Career Starts Here

    Penn State Behrend has a comprehensive support system to help you identify and achieve your goals for the classroom and beyond. Meet with your academic adviser often and take advantage of the services offered by the Academic and Career Planning Center beginning in your first semester.

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Shannon Lawlor, Ashley Solo, Sarah Veslany, Sarah Hall, and Nicole Malinowski (l-r) meet Tom Ridge, former Congressman from Erie, former Pennsylvania Governor, and former US Secretary of Homeland Security, at the Erie County Bar Association Law Day event on April 24.

Shannon Lawlor, Ashley Solo, Sarah Veslany, Sarah Hall, and Nicole Malinowski (l-r) meet Tom Ridge, former Congressman from Erie, former Pennsylvania Governor, and former US Secretary of Homeland Security, at the Erie County Bar Association Law Day event on April 24.

Careers of Penn State Behrend Political Science Alumni (as of September 2013)

There are 402 POLSC alumni since the first major graduated in 1977. We were able to determine the current jobs of 316 (79%) of those alumni.
Of those 316 alumni, the most common career paths are:

  • Business professionals             (n=74, 23%)
  • Law                                        (n=73, 23%)
  • Government service                (n=57, 18%,)
  • Education                                (n=47, 15%)
  • Politics and policy                   (n=20, 6%)
  • Health care                              (n=9, 3%)
  • Non-profit administration        (n=7, 2%)
  • Entertainment industry            (n=4, 1%)

Note that eight government attorneys are double counted in both the law and government service fields.

Recent Alumni

To measure any differences between our more recent alumni and those who are older, we looked at alumni who graduated between 2001-2010. 151 Behrend POLSC majors graduated during that period, and we were able to determine current jobs for 120 (79%) of those. Among those 120 alumni, the most common career paths are:

  • Law                                         (n=30, 25%)
  • Business professionals             (n=24, 20%)
  • Government service                (n=21, 18%)
  • Education                                (n=21, 18%)
  • Politics and policy                   (n=10, 8%)
  • Non-profit administration        (n=3, 3%)
  • Health Care                             (n=3, 3%)

Note that four government attorneys are double counted in both the law and government service fields.


Among the 73 alumni who work in the legal field are:

  • 53 attorneys
  • 10 in law school or who just finished this year
  • 8 paralegals or legal assistants
  • 2 in graduate school to become paralegals

Some of the attorneys are partners in large law firms, some of our alumni have opened up their own law firms, some work for the government, and some work as corporate counsels.

The government attorneys work for:

  • US Customs and Border Protection
  • New York City Department of Education
  • US Department of Labor
  • Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services
  • Erie County District Attorney (our alumnus is an assistant district attorney)
  • Potter County District Attorney (our alumnus is the elected district attorney)
  • Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons

Some of the corporate counsels work for:

  • Dick's Sporting Goods
  • Consol Energy
  • Gateway Health Plan

Business Professions

Among the 74 alumni who work as business professionals, 10 work in insurance, 8 work in banking, 7 work in finance, 6 work in marketing, 4 are sales administrators, 3 are human resources executives, and 9 run their own small or medium-sized businesses, with the rest in a variety of business professional careers. Four business professionals do policy or government research:

  • Research Associate, Mohr Partners (real estate firm, economic and urban development research)
  • Strategy & Operations Consultant, Federal Practice, Deloitte
  • Associate Director for International Trade Policy, Toyota Motor North America
  • Government Relations Specialist, Erie Insurance

Other business professionals hold the following positions:

  • Senior Financial Analyst, Southeast Toyota
  • Commercial Underwriter, Erie Insurance
  • Vice President of Human Resources - International, Kinetic Concepts
  • Program Manager, Raytheon

Government Service

Among the 57 alumni who work in government service:

  • 21 work for federal government agencies
  • 14 work for state government agencies
  • 13 work for local government agencies
  • 8 are career military, including at least 5 military officers
  • 1 works for an international government agency

Among those working for the government are 9 who work as law enforcement officers at the local, state, or federal level.  8 alumni work as government attorneys.

One alumnus is the elected District Attorney for Potter County, Pennsylvania

Federal government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • CIA agent
  • US State Department officer
  • Senior Inspector, US Marshals Service
  • US Capitol Police officer
  • Senior Case Technician, Social Security Administration
  • Revenue Officer, Internal Revenue Service
  • Program Analyst, US Department of Justice
  • Supervisor and Program Analyst, US Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Specialist, US Department of Defense
  • Senior Engineer, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Federal Project Officer, US Department of Labor
  • US Border Patrol agent
  • Community Planning and Development Representative, US Department of Housing and Urban Development

State government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • Pennsylvania State Police trooper
  • Deputy Director for Community Development, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Connecticut State Library librarian
  • Policy Analyst, Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare
  • Project Manager, Pennsylvania State House of Representatives

Local government positions of alumni (excluding attorneys) include:

  • Human Relations Commissioner, City of Durham, NC
  • Caseworker, Erie County Office of Children and Youth
  • Police Officer, Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department

One alumnus works for an international government agency as:

  • Public Expenditure Management Advisor, Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Economic Governance

Those with military careers are serving in the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, US Coast Guard, and US Marines.


Among the 47 alumni who work in education are:

  • 11 social studies teachers
  • 6 who work as teachers in other fields in elementary or high schools
  • 2 school administrators (principal and vice principal)
  • 2 university professors
  • 2 university instructors
  • 5 who are pursing graduate degrees in order to teach at the university level (3 PhD students)
  • 16 college or university administrators
  • 2 who are pursuing graduate degrees in university administration
  • 1 administrator of a private educational institution

Positions held by our alumni in education include:

  • Social Studies teacher, Erie School District, Iroquois School District, Millcreek School District, in Baltimore, MD, in suburban Chicago, in suburban Philadelphia, in suburban Rochester, NY, Perseus House
  • Program Director, Jefferson Educational Society
  • Professor of Public Administration, Florida State University
  • Teacher in Teach for America
  • Associate Director of Safety, University of Notre Dame
  • Student Affairs Officer, UCLA
  • Academic and Career Counselor, Mercyhurst University
  • Associate Director of Student Affairs, Penn State Behrend
  • Undergraduate Academic Advisor, Penn State Behrend

Politics and Policy

Of the 20 alumni with careers in politics and policy, 8 are currently graduate students in policy fields, while the other 12 work in a variety of jobs that involve politics or policy.

Among the positions of our alumni in politics and policy are:

  • Senior Account Executive, Edelman (public relations and political consultants)
  • Political Director at Unite Here (union), Local 25, in Washington DC
  • Senior Advisor, Strategic Studies CNA Analysis & Solutions (military think tank)
  • Staff Writer, Ballotpedia
  • Contributions Coordinator, Council for a Livable World
  • Managing Editor, Geospatial Intelligence Review
  • Political Consultant, Meridian Strategies
  • Deputy IT Director, New Partners (political consultants)
  • Director, Business Intelligence, The Advisory Board Company (health care research consultants)
  • Journalist, The Investigative Project on Terrorism
  • Program Assistant, Center for Economic & Policy Research

Other Career Areas

Our remaining alumni work in a variety of fields, with health care, entertainment, and non-profit administration among the most numerous careers. Jobs held by some of our alumni in these other fields include:

  • Senior Games Manager, Marvel Entertainment
  • Arts and Culture Reporter, KPBS, San Diego
  • Grantwriter Consultant, Grants Plus
  • Roving Infield Instructor, Houston Astros
  • Executive Director, Neighborhood Learning Alliance in Pittsburgh
  • Senior Investigator, US Investigations Service in Pittsburgh
  • Executive Vice President for International Distribution, Dick Clark Productions
  • Registered Nurse, Carolinas Medical Center
  • Family Consultant and Case Planner, KidsPeace in Buffalo, NY

Graduate and Law Schools

Among the law schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

Ave Maria School of Law; Boston College; Case Western Reserve University; Catholic University of Washington DC; Cleveland Marshall College of Law; Cornell University; Duquesne University; The George Washington University; Michigan State University; Ohio Northern University; The Ohio State University; Penn State Dickinson School of Law; Syracuse University; Thomas M Cooley Law School; University of Buffalo; University of Maryland; University of Michigan; University of Pittsburgh; Vermont Law School; Widener University; and Willamette University.

Among the graduate schools attended by our alumni since 2000 are:

Cleveland State University; Edinboro University; Fudan University (Shanghai, China); The George Washington University; Georgetown University; Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (Geneva, Switzerland); The Johns Hopkins University; Louisiana State University; Mercyhurst University; Oregon State University; Penn State Harrisburg; Pepperdine University; University of Akron; University of Buffalo; University of Connecticut; University of Delaware; University of Leeds, England; University of Pennsylvania; University of Pittsburgh; University of South Carolina; and University of Windsor (Ontario, Canada).